Near-source attenuation of high-frequency body waves beneath the New Madrid Seismic Zone


Attenuation characteristics in the New Madrid Seismic Zone (NMSZ) are estimated from 157 local seismograph recordings out of 46 earthquakes of 2.6 ≤ M ≤ 4.1 with hypocentral distances up to 60 km and focal depths down to 25 km. Digital waveform seismograms were obtained from local earthquakes in the NMSZ recorded by the Center for Earthquake Research and Information (CERI) at the University of Memphis. Using the coda normalization method, we tried to determine Q values and geometrical spreading exponents at 13 center frequencies. The scatter of the data and trade-off between the geometrical spreading and the quality factor did not allow us to simultaneously derive both these parameters from inversion. Assuming 1/R1.0 as the geometrical spreading function in the NMSZ, the QP and QS estimates increase with increasing frequency from 354 and 426 at 4 Hz to 729 and 1091 at 24 Hz, respectively. Fitting a power law equation to the Q estimates, we found the attenuation models for the P waves and S waves in the frequency range of 4 to 24 Hz as QP = (115.80 ± 1.36) f(0.495 ± 0.129) and QS = (161.34 ± 1.73) f(0.613 ± 0.067), respectively. We did not consider Q estimates from the coda normalization method for frequencies less than 4 Hz in the regression analysis since the decay of coda amplitude was not observed at most bandpass filtered seismograms for these frequencies. QS/QP > 1, for 4 ≤ f ≤ 24 Hz as well as strong intrinsic attenuation, suggest that the crust beneath the NMSZ is partially fluid-saturated. Further, high scattering attenuation indicates the presence of a high level of small-scale heterogeneities inside the crust in this region.

Publication Title

Journal of Seismology